Could this Pretoria homeless man be the key to a 31-year-old mystery?

11 July 2017

Dennis Haynes mysteriously vanished in February 1986.

A homeless man from Pretoria-North will have to wait about 10 days to find out if he is, in fact, Dennis Haynes, who went missing 31 years ago.

YOU’s sister magazine Huisgenoot, reported on their website in June how Dennis Haynes (then 22) went missing one morning in February 1986. He’d been dropped on the side of the N1 highway just outside Bloemfontein and would be getting a lift to a job interview in Roodepoort, Johannesburg.

“He was supposed to be home within a week or two but that never happened,” Dennis’ sister Desiree Haynes told in June.

Ruth Jacobs from Pretoria-North recently shared a picture of handmade wooden figurines on her Facebook page “Ons gee om” (“We care”), saying they’d been made by a homeless man. Ruth regularly distributes food to the homeless.

Shortly after her post another Facebook user contacted Ruth with the story of Dennis Haynes’ mysterious disappearance, saying she reckons the homeless man in question looks just like Dennis.

PHOTO: Facebook PHOTO: Facebook

Upon hearing the story, Ruth herself thought the man looked a lot like a picture of Dennis and she contacted his family in Bloemfontein.

The Haynes family traveled to Pretoria this past weekend to help Ruth look for the man. After searching for quite some time, Ruth found him on Saturday at the Mountain View train station.

The man – whom they call John Doe because he doesn’t know his name and also doesn’t have an ID book – looks a lot like the missing Dennis. Ruth says John has amnesia about certain things – he can’t remember where he comes from or who he is. He told Ruth the amnesia is the result of a car accident years ago.

Ruth took him to meet the Haynes family but was somewhat disappointed when things didn’t go as planned.

“The Haynes family showed John a photograph. He immediately said he’s the person in the picture, but he didn’t recognise the Haynes family. He says he’s 30 years old but that can’t be as Dennis has been missing for 31 years,” Ruth says.

They took John to the police station to get his fingerprints taken and he also provided DNA samples that were sent away for testing.

John is now temporarily living in a halfway house in Pretoria-North while he awaits the results of the DNA tests.

Dennis’ mom, Rina, opened a missing person case with the police 31 years ago but Dennis was never found.

She opened a new case in 2013 when the police couldn’t find any record of the original case. To date, her son remains missing.

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